Oxytocin Might not be the ‘Love Hormone’ That Researchers Initially Thought

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Oxytocin is believed to be the “love hormone” due to the role it plays in social bonding and the formation of relationships. Oxytocin is a hormone that is produced by the hypothalamus and secreted by the pituitary gland. It is involved in a wide range of physiological and behavioral processes, including childbirth, lactation, and social bonding.

When released, oxytocin has been shown to increase feelings of trust, empathy, and bonding in both animals and humans. Studies have shown that levels of oxytocin increase in the blood during social interaction, particularly in situations of trust, intimacy, and bonding. For example, when people hug, touch, or gaze into each other’s eyes, oxytocin levels increase in both individuals.

But a new study comes to challenge what researchers initially knew about the so-called “love hormone.”

Oxytocin may just be a piece of the love puzzle

New research has emerged that may challenge the idea of oxytocin as the “love hormone,” and Gizmodo tells us more. A team of scientists discovered that prairie voles that were genetically bred without oxytocin receptors were still able to mate and breastfeed their offspring, behaviors that have long been associated with the hormone. This suggests that while oxytocin is certainly important, it is just one of many factors that affect how we interact with others. The researchers found that the lack of oxytocin in these voles did not affect their ability to bond with their partners or care for their young, but more research is needed to fully understand the hormone’s role in social behavior.

Writing for Gizmodo in an email, Nirao Shah, who’s a professor at Stanford, said:

Despite being oxytocin receptor-less, male and female voles form long-term social attachments following sexual encounters. They can also deliver pups on schedule and most surprising perhaps, they can produce enough milk so that many pups survive to weaning and beyond,

The pups that do survive however are smaller than pups born to normal mothers, indicating that the oxytocin receptor plays an important (but not essential) role in milk ejection and nursing.

If you also thought love was weird, now you have another reason to think so.

Tommy’s hobby has always been playing video games. He enjoys competing in video games tournaments and writing about his experience. It’s not a big surprise that he mostly covers the latest trends from the gaming industry.